What we can offer you

Learning English for the Lao living in the tourist centre of Luang Prabang is THE KEY to their - and their families'- future. Ever since the first Western tourists began arriving in 1996, after a long period of isolation, it has become imperative to the sustainable success of tourism that the Lao could communicate with 'guests', who visit their country. English language skills are crucial for people who want to find good and well paid jobs in restaurants, guesthouses, tour agencies or in other branches of the tourist trade.

MEC is a local English Language School founded in 2004 catering for these needs.

Ever from the very getgo the school has enjoyed the support of foreign volunteers - both: experienced English language teachers and kind and generous people with no teaching experience whatsoever. For both volunteering at MEC has been a unique experience in their lives - and most of them have left MEC with huge smiles on their faces.

We teach English - and we teach much more: we open minds.

What can you expect?

MEC has a unique teaching system, which comprises a syllabus for all classes from beginners throughout to advanced students; a Lao teacher in every classroom who has received special training and is capable of conveying the syllabus' contents to her/his students and foreign volunteers, who assist the Lao teachers in the classrooms.
There's also plenty of opportunity for extra-curricular activities in and outside the classrooms. We want volunteering at MEC to be an interesting and fascinating experience.

  • You will assist in the classes: (reading, thus helping with pronunciation; correcting mistakes; conducting English language activities, which help the learners to use the language patterns just dealt with - and thus incorporate them into their language system).
  • You can have conversations & interviews with, and invent extra-curricular activities for the students.
  • Fridays are activity days, run by volunteers: prepare teaching games and activities, and then conduct them on your own.
  • You don't need to speak Lao, because there is always a Lao teacher present.
  • Don't worry we don't expect you to teach classes on your own: this is always in the capable hands of the (Lao) teachers.
  • You usually teach about 10-20 hours a week, Mondays to Fridays, in classes of 20 students
  • We'd like to know what you are good at and what you are interested in. This will reflect in the classes you participate in. We are grateful for suggestions of any kind!

Please bring games you don't need anymore, puzzles, laptops, computer accessories, an old guitar, paint, pencils: MEC can use it!

It's our goal to get the best out of you - in order to keep you happy.

What do we expect of you?

We do not consider our school a place for proselytising of any kind or a place for political propaganda. Lao PDR is a communist country and its state religion is Buddhism. Issues of political and religious matter have to be left out.

It goes without saying that sexual relations between foreign volunteers and Lao students are intolerable! This would gravely violate the teacher-student relation - as well as Lao law.

Please wear clothes suitable for a school and in a classroom. Because there are always monks and novices present it is important for both men and women to cover your knees, shoulders and chest.

Teacher Kor and some of his students

From another volunteer...

"Teaching at Mekong English Centre has been a truly rewarding experience"

Mignon Saabeel, The Netherlands

Read more